23/06/2014 07:33 BST | Updated 22/08/2014 06:59 BST

What Is Hijacking Your Headspace?

In a switched-on world it's not about calming your mind.

It's about tricking it into feeling like everything is under control.

At least at first.

Because overwhelm takes no prisoners, and new business owners are often dazzled by the excitement of getting started.

But when you are starting up a whole extra to-do list materialises in your head.

That's in addition to what's there already {which by the way already has your neurons operating at full capacity}.

And the biggest mistake you can make is to keep it all in your head.

When you do, things that have nothing to do with your startup will impede your progress.

That's just how our brains work.

For example when you have things like::

  • Rent a house in Glastonbury, UK for July and August
  • Book a hotel in Kuala Lumpur for 24th June
  • Send Grandma a get-well-soon card
  • Transfer airbnb money to Dan
  • Chase Charlotte for book sales PayPal payment
  • Advertise yoga holiday on Seek Retreat

:: that crowd your mental to-do list, yet have nothing to do with furthering your business goals, they keep your head 'busy', hijacking the space you could be using to further your business.

So what I want to share with you is a way of clearing your headspace so that you can focus on your task at hand without any distraction.

What you need:

  • A pen
  • A piece of paper
  • A timer (phone, alarm clock, stopwatch, egg timer, whatever)

And here's what I want you to do:

A 20 minute brain dump.

Set the time for 20 mins and brain dump everything you have to do and want to do.

For your life. Your art. Your business.

For your family. Your partner. Your friends.


Why 20 minutes?

20 mins is important. I know you'll come up with long list within the first five.


When you give your mind a chance to wander into the question {sit with it, ponder it, mull it over}, you'll be amazed by what shows up and what's been kicking around in that head of yours.

So don't skip the last five or 10 mins just because you're already got a list as long as your arm.

When you write it down it jumps out of your head onto the paper, and no longer hijacks your head space.

That's why journaling is such a popular therapy.

{And why writing a letter to someone you're angry with and then burning it before sending feels so darn good.}

Humour me. Just try it. Right now.

Then, looking at your list:

  1. Group them into projects or categories
  2. Highlight the ones that help you achieve your life and business goals.
  3. Tick the ones that absolutely must get done today.
  4. Strike through the ones that don't actually need to get done. At all. Ever.

And work through them accordingly.

If you make a habit of reviewing this master list at the beginning and end of your day, you'll be able to prioritise your to-dos and get things done without any of them hijacking your headspace.

Pen and paper work marvels, but I'm also a huge fan of apps, so you can find a curated an evolving list of the best task and project management apps here. is my personal favourite.

So get to that master to-do list.

{It'll kick your disorganised little butt into shape in no time.}

If you're one of the few people who actually try new things and reach for the egg timer, hit reply with what you discover. {Not your list, but your revelations.}

And if you do this exercise for real and you really don't feel spacious afterwards, well then share that too. Since formulas are only a starting point, I'll be expecting you to tell me what does work for you.

Good Luck!

Stephanie Holland is a Startup Strategist and creator of The Power Sessions, a coaching program for conscious business design.

She's obsessed with digital and media strategies for startups -- the kind that empower passionate, purpose-driven people and business to thrive in a digital world -- and gets a kick out of helping people launch and grow their brand online.